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Trump picks federal CIO

Federal CIO Suzette Kent

Suzette Kent is President Trump's choice to serve as federal CIO and lead the Office of E-Government at OMB.

Suzette Kent is your new federal CIO.

Kent is currently a principal with Ernst & Young and has been a managing partner at Accenture and worked in other capacities at JP Morgan and the Carreker Corp.

According to an administration announcement detailing the move, Kent has long experience leading workforce and organizational change.

The post of federal CIO and administrator of the Office of Electronic Government at the Office of Management and Budget is a political appointment, but does not require Senate confirmation. Deputy federal CIO Margie Graves has been holding the job in an acting capacity since the previous CIO Tony Scott resigned at the end of the Obama administration.

The federal CIO is charged with driving governmentwide technology policy, leading the federal CIO Council and often putting out unexpected IT fires.

During the Obama administration, federal CIOs worked on issues like the response to the troubled launch to the Healthcare.gov launch and the cybersecurity sprint following the breach of the Office of Personnel Management databases. That latter effort dramatically ramped up the number of agencies using two-factor authentication to access federal networks.

Kent arrives in the job with many of her operational goals already mapped out by the Report to the President on Federal IT Modernization, which was finalized in December.

Some upcoming deliverables include concluding information calls to agencies on cloud migration projects, gathering data on agency email contracts and convening a task force to come up with a governmentwide set of requirements for cloud email by the end of January.

In March, the federal CIO is charged with a preliminary update to the Trusted Internet Connection policy. The goal there is to make sure that obsolete policies on connecting agency networks to the internet aren't creating unnecessary barriers to cloud adoption.

The federal CIO also is charged with updating the cybersecurity cross-agency priority goal by April 1.

Kent's appointment comes one year into the Trump administration, which is facing a number of vacancies in the ranks of permanent CIOs at agencies. A candidate for CIO at the Department of Veterans Affairs, a post which requires Senate confirmation, is expected soon according to VA Secretary David Shulkin. CIO posts at the Departments of Defense, State, Treasury, Agriculture and Health and Human Services are all held by acting officials.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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